Teaching with Technology

Computing & Information Services


Hypothesis allows students to collaboratively annotate a public web page or PDF. Annotations made in Hypothesis for Moodle are visible only to members of that specific Moodle course page. 

If you would like to use a PDF that is not publicly available on the web, you will need to store the PDF in Google Drive. (Although you and your students will access Hypothesis through Moodle, PDFs stored in Moodle will not work with Hypothesis.)

Note: PDFs must have selectable text (OCR) to work with Hypothesis. Contact us at its@reed.edu for help with updating PDFs for Hypothesis.

Creating a Hypothesis activity

  • To create a Hypothesis activity in Moodle, turn on editing and click “Add an activity or resource.” From the Activity Chooser, select “External tool.” 


  • In the set up page, you will see a drop down menu for selecting a Preconfigured tool. Choose Hypothesis from the list. From the set up page, you can also modify other settings, like grading and visibility.


  • After you select “Save and Display,” click “Open in new window” to launch Hypothesis.
    • If you are using a publicly available PDF or webpage, enter the URL for the page or resource. 
    • If you’re using a PDF that is not publicly available, first store the file in Google Drive. Then, from the setup menu, “Select PDF from Google Drive.” If you access more than one Google account on your device, you’ll be prompted to choose the correct account.
    • The first time you complete this process, you will be asked to give Hypothesis access to view and modify files in your Google Drive. This access is necessary for Hypothesis to function. After you accept, you’ll see the Google Drive file picker. Search for and select the file you would like to annotate.

Viewing and creating annotations

Once you have entered a URL or selected your file, it will load in the Hypothesis annotation window. Below is an example with grading enabled, allowing you to filter annotations by student using the menu at the top of the page.


The first time users access a Hypothesis assignment, they will see instructions for making annotations.

Hypothesis also has a help page for students that covers making annotations and advanced functions.

If you have any questions about using Hypothesis in your Moodle course page, contact ITS at moodle@reed.edu.